Definition of pennant in US English:



  • 1A tapering flag on a ship, especially one flown at the masthead of a vessel in commission.

    • ‘September 30 saw HMS Alderney's last entry into Portsmouth with her decommissioning pennant flying after a final visit to her namesake island.’
    • ‘A typical Fourth of July in New York City began with the roar of cannons and the unfurling of flags, pennants, and streamers from the masts of hundreds of ships around the harbor.’
    • ‘Flying her paying-off pennant, HMAS Mildura sails from Fremantle and heads for Melbourne for the last time on July 15, 1953.’
    • ‘Survey ship HMS Bulldog has completed her final deployment, and sailed into her home port of Devonport flying her decommissioning pennant after 33 years of service.’
    • ‘Every inch of sail was up, yet hung like pennants in an airless void.’
    • ‘Access points to the hull are all clearly marked with warning signs, and along her flanks, where her pennant number F71 was painted, is the name of her new owners and the website address.’
    • ‘The warship will fly the personal pennant of the Duke of Marlborough to mark his presence on board as she leaves Portsmouth Harbour.’
    • ‘Alongside the photos hangs a child's painting with the crayoned warship marked with the designated pennant number of F88, in real life once carried by HMS Broadsword.’
    • ‘The last voyage of a hectic year was completed with her decommissioning pennant flying as she sailed form Fremantle to Fleet Base West.’
    • ‘During the service the traditional pennant, which declares to the enemy that prayers are being said and that the ‘ship should not be attacked’, flew from the chapel balcony.’
    • ‘One pennant indicates a small-craft advisory which alerts mariners that weather, potentially dangerous to small crafts, is either occurring or is forecast.’
    • ‘The Type 42 destroyer has made a symbolic final entry into her home base, Portsmouth, trailing her decommissioning pennant.’
    • ‘Such were organisers' fears about the British weather - justified, as it turned out - that decorative flags, pennants and banners were made from wool material which would best withstand wind and rain.’
    • ‘HMS Coventry has returned to the UK for the last time, flying her decommissioning pennant with pride at the end of a highly-successful deployment to the West Indies.’
    • ‘Both Islands had a huge gleaming city of made of white marble glowing in the son as well as countless pennants and dozens of white ships with their bows carved to look like swans.’
    1. 1.1 A long triangular or swallow-tailed flag, especially as a military ensign.
      • ‘If you have assigned vehicles, devise a marking system with pennants or small flags that helps you visualize how your platoon is arrayed or where it is located.’
      • ‘Every hostelry in town seems to nail its colours to the walls, as if club scarves and pennants come with the alcohol licence.’
      • ‘Old flags, pennants, war cries and songs are to be seen and heard on the streets once more.’
      • ‘A stage has been built in a hangar, where several hundred troops are waiting beneath five regimental pennants.’
      • ‘Some of the most common continuation patterns include flags, ascending and descending triangles, symmetrical triangles, pennants, gaps and rectangles.’
      banner, banderole, streamer, flag, standard, ensign, jack, pennon, colour, colours
      View synonyms
  • 2North American A flag denoting a sports championship or other achievement.

    ‘the Dodgers won six pennants during his career’
    • ‘In the 21 seasons from '26 to '46, the Cardinals won nine pennants and six world championships.’
    • ‘Besides leading the Braves to an unprecedented eight consecutive division championships and five pennants, he receives high marks for communicating well with players and eliminating controversy from the clubhouse.’
    • ‘‘Some of these flags do seem to be getting a bit bigger than the usual football team pennants, which could become an issue, but at the moment we have no evidence they are a danger,’ he said.’
    • ‘When the teams tied for the pennant at the end of the regular season, they played a three-game playoff.’
    • ‘Equally skilled at hitting, fielding, and base running, he led the Yankees to ten pennants and eight world championships.’
    • ‘The title-holders are still searching for their first win, after four defeats and a draw, and already they have very little chance of holding on to the Championship pennant.’
    • ‘The walls that weren't glassy were adorned with autographed sports photos and pennants.’
    • ‘Their six-year run included four American League pennants and two world championships.’
    • ‘Now, I never am one to hand trophies or pennants or championships to teams before they go out and show they can win it, but how many of you had the same thought?’
    • ‘Two 19-game winning streaks also propelled teams to pennants.’
    • ‘This one was decorated profusely, with huge banners and pennants of championships dangling on the wall behind the stall.’
    • ‘That win clinched first place and launched a Yankee string of five straight pennants and World Series championships, a streak that ran through 1953.’
    • ‘The Cardinals decided I could play third out of necessity, and we won two pennants and a world championship in 1967 and 1968.’
    • ‘There were several plaques and sports pennants hung on the walls.’
    • ‘Let's assume you are putting together a team to win a pennant this season, not two or three years down the line.’
    • ‘Has anyone heard of a team winning a pennant without a good catcher?’
    • ‘Inside, the place is awash in team pennants, neon beer logos and an Oscar-looking pool trophy.’
    • ‘Together they jump up and down and the studio floor vibrates with the movements of the small crowd cheering like the home team just won the pennant.’
    • ‘They have made a massive contribution to English cricket, but not recently, and more than 30 years have passed since they last took the championship pennant.’
    • ‘He pulls out some pennants of our favourite sports teams and we taped them to some of the remaining wall space.’
  • 3Nautical
    A short rope hanging from the head of a ship's mast; a pendant.

    • ‘Moored ships moved restlessly, shifting and creaking, the forest of masts with their canopies of ropes and sails and pennants swaying ever so slightly in the breeze.’


Early 17th century: blend of pendant and pennon.